Tobar Mhuire Heritage Trail

(5 reviews)

Tobar Mhuire is a retreat centre in the heart of Crossgar, set in 55 acres of woodland.  Visitors can enjoy a relaxing stroll through the grounds exploring some of the unique heritage including Mary’s Well (a holy well), Victorian walled garden and a spectacular view of the Mourne Mountains and Co Down landscape.

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Tobar Mhuire Heritage Trail

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  • Very pleasant short walk through varied woodland and views of the surrounding countryside. Note that the start point details given here are out of date. You now need to go to the monastery main entrance for access.

    Richard at 6:54 pm
  • Still shut due to Covid in August! It’s an outside space that could support mental and physical health but is closed when people can sit in a pub! Please reopen our family friendly spaces. They will never reopen if waiting for Covid to pass – it is now endemic and we need to get on with our lives.

    Jean at 3:41 pm
  • County Down

    Distance 1.6 miles

    OS Map 21

    Terrain Compacted gravel paths

    Nearest Town Crossgar

    Route Shape Circular

    Grid Reference J459 519

    Route Type Parkland & Grassland, Woodland

    Route Description

    Starting in the car park behind the walled garden the trail is travelled in an anticlockwise direction following the waymarkers.  The trail begins through a wooded area  to the rear of St Colmcilles high School. (At weekends car parking and trail access are available from the main car park, accessed off the Downpatrick Road) 

    Upon reaching the driveway, cross over and look out for a foundation which was the military outlook post when British and American troops occupied the grounds in WWII.  Follow the path through an area of dense rhododendron with the option of taking the shorter route directly to ‘Mary’s Well’ (a holy well) translated into Irish means ‘Tobar Mhuire’.  From here continue along the path, crossing the main driveway to either proceed up the hill or take a short detour left for a view of the original Crossgar House.  Please note: this section of the trail is linear and visitors will need to retrace their steps to continue the trail up the hill. 

    The trail then winds its way up the hill to the seated viewpoint area affording visitors a spectacular view of the Mournes (on a clear day!).  The trail then proceeds through the wooded area where there is plenty of opportunities to explore and play, after which the trail descends down the hill and back to the car park.

    Visitors are also welcome to visit the Walled Garden to enjoy the newly restored pond and look upon the impressive glasshouse – permission via Retreat Centre.

    Point of Interest

    Monastery, St Mary’s Well (Holy Well), views of the Mournes, Victorian walled garden

    Getting to the start

    From the roundabout in Crossgar take the exit for B7 Killyleagh Road to St Colmcilles School on the right. The lane leading to the car park/starting point is immediately after the school wall, and directly opposite a car garage. 200 metres down the lane the car park for the trails is accessed to the right.

    Dog Policy

    Must be kept under control; on a leash


    Car parking at the start of the walk. Toilets provided in Tobar Mhuire Retreat Centre. Refreshments and shops in Crossgar.

    Accessibility Grade

    Grade 3

    • The path may not be hard and firm in all weathers with loose stones (not bigger than 5cm) with occasional tree roots and pot holes and will be at least 1m wide for its entire length.
    • The path will not be steeper than 6° or have a cross slope of greater than 6°.
    • There will not be any obstacles such as steps or stiles and surface breaks will be between 12mm and 75mm in width.
    • There will be a clear head height of greater than 2.10m for the entire length of the route.
    • There will be passing places at least every 150m and rest areas at least every 1km.